History of Firescreens

Firescreens are essential fireplace accessories that add both beauty and safety to your home. Today, we’ll look at their long and noble history.

Two types of firescreens

If you look at antique fireplaces, you’ll find two different types of firescreens, sometimes differentiated as firescreens and fireguards. The latter type is the descendent of what we know today as firescreens – metal structures that prevent logs from rolling out of the fireplace and stop sparks from scorching your legs.

But in earlier days of home construction – say, the Victorian era and farther back – fires were the main source of heating every room in a house. While this was a good warming solution, it didn’t heat rooms evenly. Depending on where you were in the room, your face might be burning up or your feet might be cold. So, decorative firescreens were invented and placed in front of fireplaces to direct the heat.

Antique decorative firescreens

In the 19th century, people made firescreens from leather, wood, papier mache and wicker, with a silk or embroidered banner. Usually these were flat panels on legs, or a rectangle on a pole ending in tripod feet. You could move the banner screen up and down the pole to change the direction of the heat. Banners often had heavy tassels on the bottom, for both weight and decoration. Today, pole screens are popular with antique collectors.

siena firescreen
Our Siena firescreen

Still relevant

Better home construction and central heating make decorative firescreens unnecessary today, though still fun to collect. However, the fireguard type of screen is as relevant as ever. At one time, these metal screens protected long ladies in hoop skirts from being set ablaze. Now they are essential to keeping sparks off small children and pets who get too close to the fire.
hamlet firescreen
Our Hamlet firescreen

At Old World Stoneworks, we’re proud to carry on the tradition of the decorative yet practical fireguard with our new line of firescreens. We have nine styles to choose from, and each comes in three different finishes – silver, bronze or matte black. A choice of handle styles lets you further customize your firescreen to better complement your home.

If you want to be part of firescreen history, give us a call today.